So, you’re part-way through a hypnotherapy session, and you forgot to put your phone on silent, it rings, LOUD. What do you do? Or you’re doing stage/street hypnosis and a random person comes over and starts trying to talk to your hypnotised subject, how do you deal with that? Well, both problems are quite simple to solve actually, with ‘manipulation of distractions’.
Manipulating distractions in hypnosis
The term manipulating distractions quite simply alludes to the concept of feeding back whatever ‘distractions’ are happening, and suggesting to your client/subject that in fact, those sounds can help them to go even deeper into hypnosis. So, you’re ‘manipulating’ the distraction to utilise it as a deepener, as opposed to not mentioning it and risking your hypnotised subject/client being disturbed by it.
Now, as you may already know, as a hypnotist you don’t need silence in order to hypnotise someone. In fact, you can hypnotise people even if they’re in loud, busy environments, just look at any stage hypnosis show or street hypnosis demonstration. The hypnotic state is only as fragile as you suggest! So, if you, the hypnotist, hear a loud noise and become flustered, worrying that your hypnotised person will come out of hypnosis due to the distraction, then it’s more likely to happen. However, if you manipulate that distraction, then your hypnotised subject will likely remain comfortably in hypnosis.
Types of manipulating distractions
There are two key types of manipulating distractions in hypnosis. You have proactive manipulation of distractions, and reactive. Proactive simply means, you proactively include suggestions for manipulating distractions at the start of your hypnosis process, during the induction/deepener stage. Reactive manipulation of distraction can be used to react to any distractions that happen during your hypnosis process.
Proactive manipulation of distractions
To proactively manipulate distractions, you’ll include a suggestion early on, such as, “from this point onwards, any sounds that you hear, from inside or out, will help you focus all the more on my voice, and will take you deeper into this wonderful, relaxing state of hypnosis. Any other sounds that you hear can just fade into the background, as if the volume is being turned down, helping you to focus on my voice and go deeper into hypnosis…”
Reactive manipulation of distractions
Let’s say you forgot to proactively manipulate distractions at the start of your hypnosis session. You’ve got someone in hypnosis, they’re nice and deep and relaxed, and you’re already half way through what you’re doing with them, then all of the sudden you have someone knocking on the door, interrupting your train of thought and potentially distracting your subject/client. Well, rather than panicking and cutting the hypnosis session short with an early wake up, a simple manipulating distractions suggestion will do the job! For example, “any sounds that you can hear can help you focus all the more on my voice, as you go deeper into hypnosis now…” You might make the manipulation of distraction even more specific, suggesting, “the sound of knocking can help you go deeper into hypnosis, focusing on the sound of my voice… With each knock, you can disregard that sound even more, relaxing ever deeper…”
Other types of distractions
Distractions aren’t always sound-based either. In the past, I’ve used manipulation of distractions whilst performing hypnosis outdoors in difficult weather conditions. When you have a subject whose hair is whipping around in gale-force wind, adding in the suggestion that “the wind in your hair can help you to go deeper into hypnosis, and really focus on the sound of my voice as you go deeper now…” can be a huge help. If someone tries to give your hypnotised volunteer a suggestion during a street hypnosis demonstration, you might suggest, “you will only respond to the suggestions that I give you, and all other voices can just fade into the background and take you deeper”. Not only does it help you to continue your hypnosis session, but it helps your subject/client to know that they are allowed to remain in hypnosis, even when something potentially distracting happens!
As a hypnotist/hypnotherapist, your (hopefully) innate ability to craft hypnotic suggestions off the top of your head is something that will help you adapt to any situation, regardless the type of distraction. Remember, whatever happens, you can quite simply tell your hypnotised person that whatever it is can take them deeper into hypnosis, and focus all the more on what you’re saying.
If you have any questions about this topic, or anything else hypnosis-related, get in touch with me personally, because I’m always happy to help!